Originally Posted by gambrinus
Wal-Mart doesn't kill bike shops. Bike shops that are run by people that have a "pre-Wal-Mart" attitude and business model kill their own shops. Wal-Mart puts "butts on saddles"... Do these people return to Wal-Mart for service? Parts? Clothing? Advice?.. NOPE. Wal-Mart sells cheap crap for the most part. At least some percentage of these buyers will get "hooked" and be looking for an upgrade to a "real bike" from the local LBS.
You are mostly correct. Unfortunate effect, though. The family shop was run since the 60's and the business model was as old as the bikes that we fixed. That model, indeed, sealed the deal. Potential customers only saw the $ sign and not the quality. Most LBS ('round here anyway) are nothing more than a supplier of parts.